James Welzien & Roberta Staney
SOUTH AFRICA & BOTSWANA PROPOSED ITINERARY
South Africa and Botswana offer a wonderful mix of cosmopolitan cities, spectacular game viewing, rich cultures, and unsurpassed coastal scenery. Your trip begins in Cape Town, one of the world’s most beautiful cities at the foot of the iconic Table Mountain and with its modern infrastructure, one of the most wheelchair accessible cities on the continent. Explore the Cape of Good Hope and head to the beautiful Winelands, to sample some of the worlds best wines, stroll through beautiful gardens, explore Cape Dutch homes, and historical villages like Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Somerset West.
You’ll then travel to the northern Botswana, where you'll spend 3 nights in Chobe/Linyanti regions. Contrary to what you may think, Botswana's lodges are ideal for wheelchair users as most of them, being built on islands and above water, are comprised of a series of boardwalks. So there are no gravel or sand walkways to navigate. Another advantage is that even if you choose not to partake in the game viewing activities, most Botswana lodges and camps are strategically placed with sweeping views of a river or channel, so you can view wildlife right from your patio, without having to go anywhere.
Marvel as your day and night-time game drives, bushwalks, and boating excursions take you near elephant, lion, cheetah, leopard, wild dogs,rhino, giraffe, and a host of other animals and birds.
End your trip with 4 nights at Singita's Ebony Lodge in the world renowned Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa.
DAY 1: Arrive in Cape Town, South Africa Upon arrival at Cape Town International Airport, and after clearing through customs and immigration, you'll be met and privately transferred to your hotel in Cape Town. Depending on your arrival time you may have time for some touring this afternoon. OPTION 1: Gondola ride up Table Mountain. Table Mountain, so-named for its flat top, is a mountain measuring 3,558 feet tall that overlooks and cradles the city of Cape Town. The mountain is the central component of Table Mountain National Park, which is part of the regions’s Cape Floral Region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wheelchair access is possible all the way to the mountaintop, via the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway. Wheelchair users receive expedited access to the cable car, and will not be required to wit in the standard queue. An elevator is available to access the boarding platform at the lower station OPTION 2: Visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens (all visitor facilities and many trails/pathways are wheelchair accessible. Alternatively you may choose to relax at your hotel after your long flight. Overnight at a wheelchair accessible hotel - The Vineyard or similar (3 nights)
DAY 2: Cape Town City You'll have a full day to explore Cape Town and surrounding areas with your private guide. OPTIONS INCLUDE: OPTION 1: Gondola ride up Table Mountain OPTION 2: Visit Kirstenbosch Gardens OPTION 3: Cape Malay Cooking Class in Bo-Kaap You can opt to do either or all above mentioned activities (all wheelchair friendly)
DAY 3: Cape Peninsula Tour Today you'll take a scenic drive around the Cape Peninsula with your private driver/guide. STOPS ALONG THE WAY INCLUDE: BOULDERS BEACH PENGUIN COLONY: Boulders beach penguin colony is surely one of the greatest wheelchair accessible must-sees in Cape Town. Here you can get to know Cape Towns most famous birds, the African (or Jackass Penguin as they were called when I was growing up) Penguin. Wheelchair users can access the viewing area with ease. Fully accessible wooden paths get you close to the penguins. The beach is protected from the wind and large waves, by ancient granite boulders, making it an ideal spot for the colony. Because it falls under the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area, the beach is always clean and safe, and it is rarely crowded. South Africa’s penguins are under threat from the loss of habitat, declining fish and their ever-encroaching human neighbours and by paying the small fee to visit these unique locals you are helping them. Every year, over 60 000 visitors flock to Simon’s Town to photograph and watch the famous Boulders Beach penguins, which helps boost penguin conservation efforts through South African National Parks (SANParks). CAPE POINT NATURE RESERVE: Cape Point, the beautiful tip of the Cape peninsula, has become famous for its ocean views, the Cape Point lighthouse and the extensive range of flora and fauna you'll find here. (The Flying Dutchman funicular is wheelchair friendly) CHAPMAN'S PEAK DRIVE: Chapman’s Peak Drive on the Atlantic Coast between Hout Bay and Noordhoek in the Cape Peninsula is one of the most spectacular marine drives in the world. Chapman’s Peak Drive is affectionately known as “Chappies” and is a must for anyone who is passionate about the majestic scenery of Cape Town. HOUT BAY: This former fishing village has a unique and timeless beauty that makes it popular with locals and visitors alike. Its long, sandy beach faces a beautiful bay, framed by mountains. Capetonians and visitors come here to enjoy the local fish & chips and to see the resident Cape seals that call this harbour home. NOORDHOEK: Perhaps make a stop at Noordhoek Village or visit Cape Point Vineyards for a wine tasting.
Day 4-5: Cape Winelands Today you'll begin your exploration of the Cape Winelands, visiting Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschoek. There are so many fantastic wineries to visit that it's hard to know where to start. Many are wheelchair friendly. Options include: - Wine tasting - Wine & Cheese pairings - Wine Pairing Tram Tour - Wine blending class - Wine and chocolate pairings Overnight at Grande Roche or similar (2 nights)
Day 6: Franschoek to Somerset West Today you'll continue your journey through the Cape Winelands as you make your way to Somerset West, nestled between the majestic Hottentots Holldand Mountain range and False Bay. Enjoy lunch and a wine tasting at the spectacular Vergelegen Estate. Overnight at Erinvale Estate
Day 7: Cape Town to Sabi Sands This morning you'll be privately transferred to the airport for your flight to Skukuza. Upon arrival you'll be met and privately transferred to Singita Ebony Lodge, in the renowned Sabi Sands Game Reserve, where you'll spend the next 3 nights. Standing among giant trees alongside the Sand River, Singita Ebony Lodge provides a fresh & contemporary safari experience. Surrounded by the vivid colours, captivating sounds and soothing rhythms of the bush, it awakens a spirit of discovery while restoring the senses. Twelve luxurious suites featuring glass and canvas walls open onto expansive private decks with plunge pools – and uninterrupted river views ensure continuous connections with the wilderness.
Day 8-9: Sabi Sands Sabi Sands, South Africa's most famous private game reserve, lies adjacent to South Africa's flagship Kruger National Park, and offers a safari experience found nowhere else in the world. Game viewing possibilities are simply unparalleled, including the much sought after 'Big 5'. There are no fences between Kruger National Park and Sabi Sands Game Reserve, so wildlife roams freely in a huge natural environment. The Sabi Sands is in particular well known for its amazing leopard sightings. The most elusive animal of the Big 5 is frequently spotted on game drives in the reserve.
Day 10: Sabi Sands to Linyanti This morning you'll transfer to Nelspruit for your flight to Victoria Falls. Upon arrival you'll be met and transferred to Duma Tau on the Chobe River, where next 3 nights. Nestled deep within the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, on the northernmost fringe of Botswana, lies DumaTau. With unique access to both the Linyanti River and Savuti Channel, the camp boasts an almost constant stream of ellies and other creatures passing by. The reserve’s diverse, pristine 126 000 hectares offers truly exclusive excursions and close-up wildlife encounters. Newly rebuilt DumaTau takes full advantage of its 45 km of river frontage to create an unparalleled safari experience. Eight tented suites with private plunge pools sit on wooden walkways mere steps from the wildlife corridors, so animals often wander peacefully through camp. The camp’s new spa, the Osprey Retreat, soothes your soul. As do all the elephants, whose moving herds compose one of Africa’s most elemental rhythms.
Day 11-12: Linyanti Surround yourself with elephants, one of the world’s largest herds, traversing two ancient wildlife corridors at the foot of the Rift Valley. Watch a matriarch and her family splash across the Linyanti River. On the breakfast barge glide past sleeping hippos, or find crocodiles sunning themselves on the banks of the lagoon. Across the varied habitats – grasslands, floodplains, riverine forests, and uncountable waterways – spot an abundance of wildlife; lions, leopards and wild dogs to name a few, meaning spectacular land- and water-based game viewing. Celebrate your day with sundowners on the floating fire pit, as a wildlife chorus performs.
Day 13: Linyanti to the Okavango Delta This morning you'll transfer to the airstrip for your flight to the Okavango Delta and Mombo lodge, your home for the next 3 nights. Constructed of wood and canvas, Mombo sits naturally in a thicket of giant mangosteen and fig trees. Eight spacious suites afford sweeping views over a floodplain teeming with wildlife. Each suite offers a sitting room; separate bedroom and bathroom; indoor and outdoor showers; elegant copper bathtub; and outdoor private sala with a double day bed, sunken couch, plunge pool, and wrap-around veranda, all immersing you deeper into the bush and the wonders of Mombo’s private traversing area.
Day 14-15: Okavango Delta The Okavango Delta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that stretches over two million hectares of floodplains, where blue channels snake around thousands of palm-fringed islands and the clear, lily-covered water is pure enough to drink. The Mombo Wildlife Area is known as “the Place of Plenty,” highlighted by the massive concentrations of plains game and predators that live here. These include all the big cats, of which lion sightings are frequent. Leopard, spotted hyaena, large herds of buffalo, elephant, giraffe, blue wildebeest, Burchell's zebra and more abound, while cheetah and wild dog sometimes move through the area. Black and white rhino are occasionally seen by a lucky few. With luck you may even glimpse one of Africa’s rarer species: perhaps a pangolin or honey badger.
Day 16: Okavango to Maun to Johannesburg This morning you'll transfer to the airstrip for your charter flight to Maun. Here you'll connect with your flight to Johannesburg, from where you'll fly home.